Why We Should Dare to Be More Selfish


From a young age, we are taught that one of
the greatest risks to our integrity and flourishing is our own selfishness. We must – wherever
possible – learn to think more of other people, keep in mind how often we fail to see things
from their point of view, and be aware of the small and large ways in which we disadvantage
and ignore collective interests. Being good means, at its most basic, putting other people
more squarely at the center of our lives. But for some of us, the problem isn’t so
much that we are heedless to this advice, rather that we take it far too closely and
remorselessly to heart. So mindful are we of the risks of selfishness, we run into an
opposite danger: an abnegation of the self, a modesty that borders on self-erasure, an
automatic impulse to give everything over to competing parties, a shyness about pressing
oneself forward and a manic inability to say ‘no’ or cause the slightest frustration
to others. And so, as a result of our talents at ‘selflessness’,
we fill our diaries with obligations to people who bore and drain us, we stick at jobs that
neglect our true talents and we stay for far too long in relationships with people who
deceive us, annoy us and subtly (and possibly with a lot of sentimental sweetness) take
us for a very long ride. And then one morning we wake up and find that the bulk of our life
is already behind us, that our best years are spent and that no one is especially grateful
for our sacrifices, that there isn’t a reward in heaven for our renunciations and that we
are furious with ourselves for mistaking meekness and self-surrender for kindness. The priority may then be to rediscover our
latent reserves of selfishness. The very word may be frightening, because we aren’t taught
to distinguish – as we must – between bad and good versions of this trait; between,
on the one hand, the kind of selfishness that viciously exploits and reduces others, that
operates with no higher end in view, that disregards people out of meanness and negligence,
and on the other, the kind of selfishness that we require to get anything substantial
done, that lends us the courage to prioritise our own concerns over the flotsam and jetsam
of daily life, that lends us the spirit to be more forthright about our interests with
people who claim to love us – and that at moments leads us to sidestep nagging demands
not in order to make people suffer, but so that we can husband our resources and in time,
be able to serve the world in the best way we can. With a more fruitfully selfish philosophy
in mind, we might fight to have an hour to ourselves each day. We may do something that
could get us labelled as ‘self-indulgent’ (having psychotherapy three times a week or
writing a book), but that is vital to our spirit. We might go on a trip on our own,
because so much has happened that we need to process in silence. We cannot be good to
anyone else until we have serviced some of our own inner callings. A lack of selfishness
may be the fastest route to turning us into ineffective, embittered and ultimately highly
disagreeable people. Hindu philosophy can be a useful guide here,
for it divides up our lives into four stages, each with its distinctive roles and responsibilities.
The first is that of the bachelor student (known as Brahmacharya), the second that of
the householder and parent (Grihastha) and the third that of the grandparent and semi-retired
advisor (Vanaprastha). But it’s the fourth that is the really interesting age in this
context: known as Sannyasa, this is the time when – after years of service to other people,
to business, family and society – we finally throw off our worldly obligations and focus
instead on the development of our psychological and spiritual sides. We might sell up our
house, go travelling and wander the world to learn, talk to strangers, open our eyes
and nourish our minds. In the period of sannyasa, we live simply (perhaps by a beach or by the
side of a mountain); we eat basic food and have few belongings, we cut our ties with
everyone who has nothing spirit-related to tell us, anyone who is on the make and in
too much of a hurry, anyone who doesn’t spend a substantial amount of their time reflecting
on the meaning of being alive. What feels insightful about this division
of existence is that it acknowledges that a Sannyasa way of living can’t be right
for everyone at anytime – yet on the same score, that no good life can be complete without
a version of it. There are years when we simply have to keep our heads down and study, years
when we have to bring up children, and accumulate some capital. But there are also, just as
importantly, years when what we need to do above all is say ‘enough’, enough to material
and superficial demands, enough to sexual and romantic entanglements, enough to status
and sociability – and instead, learn to turn our minds inwards and upwards. Without having to don the orange robe favoured
by Hindu Sannyasas, with perhaps few visible signs of our reorientation to speak of, it
is open to all of us to make a psychological move into a more self-focused and inner age.
We can convey to those around us that we aren’t lazy, mad, or callous; we just need to avoid
doing the expected things for a while now. We need to fulfill our real promise by casting
aside an idea that is only ever superficially wise: always putting other people first. Our perspective cards feature tools for a wiser calmer perspective on life, they help to restore calm and clarity even during difficult times.

100 comments

  1. We find this a very useful exercise. Without thinking too much, complete the following sentence: "If I dared to be more selfish, I would…" Let us know in the comments below.

  2. All the time in this video, I see women face. Is this for women or for human? If this good wordings for human, than it needs to be balance. Only twice I saw male face.WHY? Also, all the time male voice . Why? Need to be balance as well. This has to be for human not for women or men. Too much faminism or manisim not appriciated by many people.one might say " that not the case, but illustrated that way."

  3. If I dare to be more selfish, I would feel less guilty and shame in doing what I wanted and what I think is best for me at the moment. I always felt the obligation to explain why I did something just so they don't feel shitty about themselves / they don't think of me as something else bad. I'm tired of those days, I want to change.

  4. Meekness? Is this not a virtue? What does Christ mean when he says the meek shall inherit the Earth?

    Perhaps you mean weakness?

  5. This is clickbait as well as out of touch. First of all, this isn't about selfishness, this is about self regard. And furthermore, most people these days could barely regard themselves any higher than they already do. Too it off with some mysticism, and you've got a corporate clickbait channel aimed at millennials.

  6. So many people
    have their problems
    I'm not interested
    in their problems

    It's not a question
    of your personality or style
    Be a little more selfish
    It might do you some good

  7. To finish that sentence, “… be the biggest bitch in the universe, according to everyone who would be put out because I wasn’t at their beck and call!”

  8. You can't pour from an empty cup! Give all your fuel away and you certainly will never reach your destination.
    Meet your own needs FIRST and improve your chances of being able to assist other people without expecting anything in return.

  9. There is never reason to be selfish. What you should strive to be is considerate, towards yourself and others. This is not selfishness. Selfishness is being on a full bus blasting your music because the only person you care about is yourself. Consideration is putting in headphones and minding your own business, you are happy with your music, others are happy to not have to hear it. Also, just as an aside, I think people these days are plenty selfish, that is not a trait that needs to be encouraged.

  10. You always seem to have the answers I need at my most broken and vulnerable times… I was literally having issues thinking about what my purpose is for even being alive, since I'm legally blind
    I was having real trouble knowing what I have to do with myself, to really exist, not measured against others, but measured against myself…

    You're so wonderful, and I'll never be able to thank you enough…
    I'm so… Overwhelmed, right now, and I don't have therapy this week… This video truly gave me the answers I NEEDED… THANK YOU!!!!! <3
    Now I can stop contemplating death, and go back to living… For ME 🙂

  11. There's this voice of truth and there I was inhaling toxics of red pill mentality and shit and ended up destroying my relationship

  12. Saving up your "doing for others" so you don't end up unappreciated and alone is POO POO.You are either a giver or a taker. Sounds like someone has issues with their own life. I will continue to be unselfish as I am rich beyond imagination ( not with money). Narcissism is at an epidemic level right now. It might be more helpful to many more if you could educate those who have raped and pillaged the lives of others to change, and learn how to give. Poor timing on this ,not very kind either, trying to make people who give feel unloved and unappreciated and alone. The truth is so different I cannot begin…………………this is off…………………………………….lolly

  13. Do you only become selfish when someone/something requires something from you? If you have no one in your life this gets rid of the need for being selfish. Humans don't do so well being isolated as we are not comfortable in our own company for long periods of time, plus we are kind of social animals, we have to share that sunset with someone! Like Alan Watts said, we distance ourselves from others that we feel alienation and disconnection when really we are all consciously connected and come from the same place. We are everyone, very similar to one another so why do we need selfishness? If everyone respected each other, genuinely cared and offered help when needed then we wouldn't have a need to be self centered. We see strangers as enemies, we are frightened of everyone and the world is pc mad. I don't believe we need to be selfish, I believe people need to be respectful, responsible and accountable.

  14. There's nothing selfish about focussing on our personal development as this gives us the strength we need to help eachother. Spiritual and pyschological well-being are vital for overall health as the mind, body and spirit are all one.

  15. how 'bout not just talking about people, but maybe 'women', do you really think it's just a coincidence that you put a woman in the ilustration for doing such things us putting others before her? …is it coincidence that a man in the ilustration is resting over her sacrifices? …when starting to talk 'bout this issues?

  16. Definition: self-regard is selfishness, self-interest, self-improvement, self-involvement or self-concern and also egotism, narcissism, the negative elements, like two divided sides of the same coin.
    Not to be confused with (self-lessness) having no concern for ones self.
    Self-regard is a euphemism for selfishness, or as the video suggests, it's the positive aspect of selfishness.

  17. It's okay to say no once in a while to other people, especially those who constantly try to take advantage of you. It's also okay to take care of yourself too because if you constantly take care of others you will suffer burnout.

  18. Hindu philosophy is so scientific and practical and it's going places. But, in India🇮🇳 for some reason, people are always criticising or just picking holes in it without appreciating the larger picture. Hope good sense prevails here in India too and people start realising the real value of the Hinduism-the Sanatan Dharma!
    Anyway, as always wonderful video. Thanks!

  19. Poor title. Poor wording. What they proclaimed as our being more selfish is not selfish at all. Basically it's simple. Take care of yourself with a consideration of others.

  20. Positive selfishness is to think of oneself"s needs or dreams without hurting others and to say no to people taking advantage of one's kindness without neglecting responsibilities to family or society.

  21. I think this video applies only to a small percentage of people. It's not about being more selfish… The world is full of selfish people, don't say bullsh*t… Many people are ready to walk on your head if it could advantage them. We are told to compete with eachother, this is the essence of capitalism. This video just generalises and it's so wrong. We don't have to be more selfish but what we need to do is to care more about ourselves before being able to care about others.

  22. The School of Life you basically made a right wing view about the state of academia . Liberal / socialist indoctrination happens in schools and colleges by Marxist teachers and professors making you guilty for following your own path. Cheers 🍻 to capitalism.

  23. If I dared to be more selfish I’d get myself a massage, learned more openly on Tarot, Dream interpretation and the intuition and the Archangels and Spirit Guides, on Shamanism and Shinrin Yoku, of nature therapy.. Of life regressions and inner child healing in a more formal setting – but, well. I signed up for such a lesson to heal my karma in my past life and it is in the form of my mother. I’m so thankful there are so many sources for self knowledge and inner connection aid online too. Including Lyn’s coaching and Lonerwolf’s Psyche learning and all of the intuitive healing channelers online !

    Dance with my headphones at the beach’s shore, bare feet indulging in the burrows of the warm, healing sand and swooning over the ocean – the umbilical cord of the universe, and connecting to Archangel Gabriel this Saturday.

    I suppose the last one is an indulgence I can afford to openly make 💗 and Friday evening I’ll make myself a boxed lunch <333!!!

    The therapeutic intuitive writing indeed gave me direction, one that deeply negates what my mom views spirituality like – but one that I’ll still stick by in my writing, as witchcraft, spirituality and the archangels, the spiritual connection to my spirit guides that I’d love to enhance is just 💗💞💗 !!! Something I will not deny myself in my writing subjects

  24. Growing up in gradeschool and college, I found myself surrounded by selfish people who lived entirely by their impulses, and didn't give a damn whether their desires hurt other people. They'd be dating someone, but then sleep with someone else at a party. That person at the party was hot! And sex feels good! So just do it! Who cares if it breaks the heart of their current partner!? BE SELFISH! Binge on fast food and alcohol every weekend! Who cares!?! It tastes good and feels good! Sleep in every morning. Skip class. Chainsmoke. Sleep around. Who cares? Double park your car. Cut people off in traffic. Merge at the absolute last second. Who cares? Live selfishly. And I noticed that acting this way WORKS for them. They always have a relationship. They're always happy. They get promotions at work. They always drive brand new vehicles. Their life is good. Even though there is a trail of other people's misery in their wake. But who cares, right? BE SELFISH!

  25. I'm selfish all the time.. so don't you worry about me. Even the things I do for other people are in my own benefit one way or another.

  26. The best illustration of what this kind of selfishness actually means is best encapsulated in "Groundhog Day". Having established that the best thing about us IS our relational capacity, IS our need to love and be loved, Phil Connors gets on with the business of acquiring the skills he needs to serve himself and others as best he can. Everyone else will still be there when he's done learning, so he has to put them to one side for a while; the last phase of his journey towards freedom is to get busy on himself.

  27. Dont take "work"as something bad, if you dont like your job you need to keep looking, be motivated. If work is negative then almost your whole life is negative.

  28. I think that with every video they post in regards to life, emotions, and hardships comes something essential to the video that is not present. It’s the audience, they explore different ideas of life, for instance in this video selfishness & self- regard and present it to the audience. It’s not a one and done solution, it’s just a general overlay of those ideas and healthy ways to cope with them. SOME people think that there is only one road which they can walk when watching these videos. But in truth, there are millions of ways to cope with something in very healthy and very real ways.

  29. Buddhism has a concept called 'Jigyo Keta' which translates from Japanese as 'Practice for oneself and practice for others'- both are important. If you don't care for yourself, you can't care for others. On the other hand, if you only cared for yourself without thinking of your impact on others, it is an insular and selfish life indeed.

  30. I think, The School of Life and Kurzgesagt should team up. Atleast, hire Kurzgesagt for the animation part. It would be so much fun!!

  31. Coming from Christianity this is a huge one for me. I was taught to always take the lower seat. To always suffer long and forgive and consider others more highly than myself. Carving out space in my life to be a little selfish has been one of the best decisions ever!

  32. No one actually cares about anyone else. Only what they provide for them, comfort, security etc. Were all selfish and full of self regard. Self reliant. Etc. I don't actually know it just seems that way. Every time I've tried to be selfless all I've seen is a world of people not willing to try what I did. They won though because the despair that no one else was trying to be selfless made me regress into being isolated and selfish. I think people are "selfish" enough. Think about it. You already do whatever you want. You eat what you want. Walk where you want. Talk how you want. Think what you want. We already do all that selfish stuff. I don't know. Maybe next topic could be a discussion on what if we all tried to be selfless?

  33. This hits home. As a young adult in the 21st century, I find that due to huge societal problems such as climate change, I constantly feel a burden that I should act towards the common interest (not eat meat, buy less clothes, not use a washing machine, etcetera.) It's a constant struggle to, even though you want to do actions that are better for the health of our planet, it often clashes with one's own desires. This might be a thing of all times, but I feel like this balance has become more difficult to maintain in the 21st century (also considering the massive amount of knowledge that is out there about the negative effects of our actions).

  34. I learned this the hard way. For the first 35 years of my life i was the nicest, good listening, give you the shirt off of my back guy and it got me nowhere. In just under 4 years after i decided to put myself first, I'm now making way more money, have been fulfilling my passion to travel and am able to give much more freely than I ever was capable of before. You can't help anyone if you cannot help yourself.

  35. GOD abhorreth covetousness and many are verily Covetousness in these times and it is mostly for currency that many covet to GOD covetousness is the same as idolatry and FATHER abhorreth idolatry and covetousness. Back in May GOD spoke unto me with the sword of his mouth – YOU ARE THE LAMB AND LIKE THE LAMB YOU WILL BE SACRIFICED YOU ARE TO BE A GREAT PROPHET YOU ARE TO HEALP BUILD A CHURCH ON A MOUNTAIN TOP. i had said – LORD why would you choose some one like me to be your great prophet and the LORD spoke unto me – BECAUSE MANY PEOPLE PERCEIVE YOU TO BE A FOOL BECAUSE YOUR HUMILITY IS GREAT BECAUSE YOUR FEAR OF THE LORD IS GREAT.

  36. It looks to me, … that video above is targeted to female audience only…
    … … just a Soup for thaught !!! …

    … … 😵 …Just thinking …🍼⚡💊
    if … A school for life
    decide to create a mirror video
    more applicable to a male audience , with a male animated caracters in it.
    😂😨😵😳😋
    ……. It might be interesting to see
    a comment section of
    … that video version.

    (* lol. 😂 🎥 😵)

  37. I just watched 6 minutes video, but was like an one minute thing, and I can't tell if that is good or bad. Maybe because it is a think that always belongs to us, but we can't notice it without reflection. Like we all need that this kind of thing be repeated all day to be really be part of us, like a human being that we really are.

  38. When you have Asian parents that ingrain in you from an early age that you're not allowed to be "selfish" but you have to put yourself first to get ahead in the professional world

  39. Translation: once a man gets married his life no longer belongs to him , it means pleasing and providing for everyone but himself , with no true prize for all of his hard work. So go your own way

  40. Thank you for teaching me how to believe in myself. I’m so grateful I thank everyone I meet every day. I cry because I feel how heavy the world can be sometimes, I sense it everywhere. But I realized, through emotional reflection, I can be myself, and that’s okay – despite all odds against us. To compare is to divide, and we must see ourselves as fractions. Our life’s can only be whole once we place our selves over our selves. That way we can see that we were always one. The school of life is the life of school. They are one and the same. 😉

  41. Only in a Craigslist system are there years when we have to accumulate it.

    This is where the mindful years could be put BEFORE the other duties and make us better or whole lives!

  42. Noticing the Sins of Others

    “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” Luke 6:41

    Reflect, today, upon whether or not you struggle with being judgmental toward those around you. Especially reflect upon whether or not you tend to be more critical of those striving for holiness. If you do tend to do this, it may reveal that you struggle with pride more than you realize.

    Lord, humble me and help me to be free of all pride. May I also let go of judgmentalness and see others only in the way You want me to see them. Jesus, I trust in You.Amen🙏

  43. I think this video mis-diagnoses the problem. People don't carry out their hearts desire due to a lack of selfishness, we don't do it due to cowardice. We are frightened to step out and go our own way because we are frightened of failure and what people will think of us.

  44. Discernment between when you are simply establishing boundaries and when you are being selfish is the real issue. To be truly selfish is an issue of your mindset; to make people a means to an end instead of having people be the end.
    Also, you seem confused on the degree of importance one should place on a spiritual reality. On one hand, you said that "heaven doesn't exist" and then on another, you talk about the importance of a spiritual journey to find the ones own meaning of life. So is spiritual pursuit in vain or not?

  45. you know nothing on Why Some Countries Are Poor and Others Rich
    , bias video and you know that's why blocked comments and likes ha delete your channel and stop talking a wanna be …what is this asmr

  46. I'm Christian, but this is exactly what I'm doing now. I have felt guilty about it, but realize it is necessary for my growth…that I somehow skipped

  47. All sounds good and well, but you apparently have no kids. And that's the least of your problems… leave behind our sexual desires?!?!? Whut you talkin about Willis???

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